According to China’s state-run China Central Television, Kim arrived in Beijing on a two-day official visit. He is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While details of the trip remain undisclosed, Kim is widely expected to discuss his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump and other outstanding issues, including sanctions against his regime.
|In a file photo taken on May 8, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, takes a stroll with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Dalian in northeastern China. (Yonhap)|
Cheong Wa Dae declined to comment on Kim’s visit, saying only that Seoul was aware of the developments and that “diverse channels” for gathering information are in place.
Kim is reported to be accompanied by a much larger entourage than his two previous visits to Beijing. Kim first visited China as North Korea’s leader in March, when he met with Xi in Beijing. The two met again in Dalian in May.
Kim’s entourage for Tuesday’s visit reportedly consists of two vehicles marked for North Korean leadership, and more than 10 sedans and minibuses. The presence of two vehicles marked for top-level North Korean officials has sparked speculation that Kim may be accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo-jong.
|A stretch limousine, with a golden emblem similar to one North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has used previously, arrives with motorcycle escorts as a guard of honor salutes at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap)|
Kim Jong-un’s latest trip to China has also sparked speculations that sanctions imposed by Beijing may be discussed.
Japanese media reports citing unnamed sources claimed that Kim is likely to seek Xi’s support in demanding international sanctions to be eased.
Following the Kim-Trump summit, China hinted that some sanctions relief could be considered if North Korea takes denuclearization steps, and that for Beijing the sanctions are not the goal in themselves.
While China is said to have reaffirmed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the measures will remain in place until denuclearization is achieved, a number of news reports have since claimed that sanctions may be being eased.
According to reports citing unnamed sources, a number of factories concerned with China-North Korea trade have recently resumed operations. The New York Times also reported that some 100 North Koreans have been hired by clothing manufacturers in Hunchun, China.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)